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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Timea Tihanyi
H A&S 263
Seattle Campus

World Civilization III

Introduction to ideas and society of civilization other than the Western. Specific civilization (Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, South Asian) differs from year to year and section to section. For university honors students only. Offered: Sp.

Class description

Skin: A Cultural History through Art HA&S 263B (SLN 18747) Spring 2009

The course focuses on exploring various aspects of the cultural history of the skin through art. Being the largest human organ, the skin acts as an interface with the outside world. We will consider prevailing concepts, theories and implications in biology, continental philosophy and the social sciences, as well as historic and contemporary interpretations in visual art. The main focus is on experiential learning by in-depth research and studio practice (art making project).

Course content: I. Brief overview of the anatomy and physiology of skin (lecture) II. The Skin in Western thought (research and discussion) - Boundary metaphors (dichotomies of inside-outside, the body in the world, subjective- objective experience; permeability; penetration; representations in anatomy - conventions and breakthroughs from Vesalius 1543 to the present) - Skin as container: returning image of flayed skin in art: St Bratholomew, Marsyas) - Skin as canvas/ mirror: a site of inscription (identity, markings, skin color) III. Tactility - The largest sensory organ: experience of the world around (touch and tactility) - The body of the future: fabricating new identities / teletactility (Orlan / Stelarc, Stahl Stenslie)

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Course will consist of lectures, readings, discussions, presentations, and one art making project.

Recommended preparation

No previous experience with art making, biology, or philosophy is required.

Suggested readings: Skin: On the cultural border between self and the world, Claudia Benthien, Columbia U Press, NY 2002 Steven Connor, The book of skin, Cornell U Press, 2004

No freshmen.

Class assignments and grading

Course work: Research project: written analysis of a selected historic artwork (5 page paper) Short research project: presentation of a chosen contemporary artist Making project: second skin

Projects and participation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Timea Tihanyi
Date: 02/10/2009